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Doug McDermott staying at Creighton, forgoing NBA Draft

By Jeff Goodman | College Basketball Insider

Creighton's Doug McDermott is giving it another year at the collegiate level. (USATSI)=
Creighton's Doug McDermott is giving it another year at the collegiate level. (USATSI)

Doug McDermott went back and forth almost daily over the last couple of weeks. There was a time when the Creighton star was certain he'd be telling his father/coach, Greg, that he'd be leaving for the NBA. But that all changed over the last few days -- and now McDermott, as announced on his Twitter feed on Thursday, has decided to return to school.

"I planned on making a decision two weeks ago," McDermott said in an exclusive interview with CBSSports.com on Wednesday night. "But something wasn't right."

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McDermott -- a 6-8, 225-pound forward projected as a late first- or early second-round pick -- went to a team banquet earlier this week, and that's when it all hit him. How much he loves college life, how much he enjoys playing for his father, how excited he is about the prospect of playing in different venues in a new league. Then came a conversation with former Creighton star Kyle Korver, an NBA veteran who gave him valuable insight into the decision.

"If I'm going to play in the NBA, I'm going to play this year or next year," McDermott said. "I'm not buying into the fact that I had to go this year because the draft was considered weaker. He (Korver) told me that I'm going to have to beat out guys whether I'm a first-rounder or I wind up going in the second round."

Greg McDermott sat down with his son on Wednesday after class, and looked at the projections. They looked at this year's draft, and also used information they had gathered about the strength of next year's draft.

"[The 2014 draft] looks stronger at the top 15 to 18 picks, but after that it's about the same," Doug McDermott said. "But that's probably not going to be my range this year or next year, anyway. That helped me."

That's when Doug looked at his father and said, "I want to stay."

"Are you sure?" Greg asked.

"Yes. I'm ready," Doug responded.

McDermott and his father went into athletic director Bruce Rasmussen's office and delivered the news, which was followed by a loud roar. Doug then called his mother, Theresa, who wanted her son to stay for his senior season.

"A lot of stress is gone now," McDermott said. "I'm really excited."

The 6-foot-8 junior forward is coming off a season in which he averaged 23.2 points and 7.7 rebounds while shooting 49 percent from beyond the arc, 55 percent from the field and 88 percent from the line. He has 2,216 career points in his three seasons, but understands that some NBA executives question whether he can defend at the next level, and how well he can score in the NBA. McDermott said playing in the Big East against more athletic teams than he's faced in the Missouri Valley will help him prepare for the NBA, and give him a chance to answer those concerns.

"It's a great opportunity for both me and the team," McDermott said. "We can prove people wrong."

Creighton will lose pass-first guard Grant Gibbs and starting big man Gregory Echenique, but the Bluejays return guards Austin Chatman and Jahenns Manigat -- both of whom started every game last season. They will head into the Big East with questions, but the step up will certainly be easier for Greg McDermott with his son in the fold for 2013-14.

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